‘Expand age limit for jab on kids’

February 13, 2022 Marlon Purification 365 views

SENATOR Francis Tolentino on Sunday proposed to adjust the age bracket covered under Republic Act No. 10152 or the law on mandatory basic immunization for all infants and children.

Tolentino said that adjusting the age bracket provided under RA 10152 is necessary considering the present limitations as the mandatory immunization policy listed under the current law only covers infants starting from six-months old and children up to five years of age.

Tolentino suggested that it’s better to expand the age limit provided under RA 10152 from until five years-old to 11 years-old not only in lieu with government’s pediatric vaccination program against the COVID-19 virus, but also to prevent policy confusion in future pandemics that may be contested in court.

“Yung nabanggit kong panukala para wala ng kaguluhan ay iyong (amendment) for infants hanggang 11 years old na,” said Tolentino.

Tolentino also noted the latest development, in which, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer-BioNTech recently asked the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) to allow them to further extend their studies on pediatric vaccination against COVID-19 since experts are reportedly debating over the preferred number of doses and the most adequate age for inoculating children.

Pfizer-BioNTech on Saturday has decided to defer its application to USFDA to expand the use of its two-dose COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 4 years, since the pharmaceutical firm will wait first for its data on a three-dose series of the vaccine—which may provide a higher level of protection in this age group, based on initial studies.

Under Section 3 of RA 10152, the mandatory basic immunization for all infants and children covers diseases such as Tuberculosis; Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis; Poliomyelitis; Measles; Mumps; Rubella or German measles; Hepatitis-B; and Influenza Type B.

However, under Section 3(i), other types of vaccine-preventable diseases can be covered by the said law and “may be determined by the Secretary of Health in a department circular,” just like the Memorandum Circular 2022-0041 released by the Department of Health (DOH) last January in connection with the pediatric vaccination against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Tolentino is confident the case filed by two parents before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) against pediatric vaccination will be dismissed since the DOH already revised its earlier circular and scrapped the highly-contested ‘parens patriae provision.’